The things that I know about you are limited. Here are the things that I do know:
1. You love soccer.
I remember my grandfather mentioning several times throughout my life that you were a big-time soccer player. The first (and only) time that I have ever seen you was at a sand soccer tournament in Virginia Beach. My team had just won the championship for our age group (that’s one thing you have done for me, I guess) and spirits were high. There was a charity sand soccer match going on, and mom allowed me to stay and watch. Within a matter of minutes, she became frantic. She was noticeably pale, incredibly uncomfortable, and kept disappearing from her seat for several minutes at a time. It wasn’t until we were walking out that she pointed to you and said “See that man? That’s your father.”
Through my research, I have learned that the year that I was born, you were a senior in college. You were also an All-American, All-Conference college soccer player that year. I’ve never received the opportunity to congratulate you on that achievement. There is NOBODY more worthy of such high accolades than someone who can father a child, desert her, AND rule in soccer all in the same year. Bravo.
2. You’ve had a colonoscopy.
What an odd thing to know about a person that you don’t actually know at all, right? I know this because this is actually one of the few things that you HAVE told me. Remember two years ago when I emailed you for the very first time? I was 23 and had never spoken to/heard from my birth father. I had spent years working up the courage. I introduced myself as your biological daughter and then asked for your medical records. To my naïve, hopeful 23-year-old brain, this was the perfect introduction. Though I lied to my close friends and family at the time, I had secretly hoped that this was it. This was the time you were going to redeem yourself for being invisible my entire life (while we lived in the same city…I could have walked to your house). Your response to my question?
“There really is nothing that stands out. I have had no issues, no allergies. My mother’s side had colon cancer. My grandfather had that. I had a colonoscopy done recently to be on the safe side and everything was fine. Sent from my iPhone.” (Yes, seriously- it didn’t even affect you enough for you to sit down at a computer and construct a proper response).
And that was it. Because after that, I tried to ask you the few questions that I had patiently waited to ask my entire life. Your response?
“These questions are being shared with my family. They are starting to make us feel a little uneasy. I appreciate your concern but you have to put yourself in my shoes to understand. I really do hope you are doing well and wish the best for you in the future.”
You wish the best for me in the future? Did I just get declined from a job or something? But hey, glad your colonoscopy went well.
3. You have a real daughter now.
And by that, I mean one that you created while married. Last year, when I had a small lapse of judgment and decided to contact her, I was surprised to learn that she had (surprisingly) heard of me. I explained to her that I had planned on waiting to contact her for at least two more years, until she tuned eighteen. However, I had realized that this life is so short and I wanted to try to get to know my half-sister while I still could do so. We talked for just a short while. I made sure that she knew I would not want her to go against your wishes, but that I was here if she wanted to get to know me in two years. She told you shortly after. I know this because you contacted me immediately, with not-so-subtle hints that you would sue if I contacted her again. The ironic part about this is that I been trying to get in contact with you for weeks to ask permission to speak with her, but you were too busy to speak. It is amazing how quickly you switched into protective father mode for yourreal daughter. It’s important for me to note that I am truly happy that you finally realized what being a father means, even if it only applies to half of the children that you have fathered. A 16-year-old girl needs her dad, and she deserves to have that need fulfilled.
Now: I realized while typing this letter that you know absolutely nothing about me. I imagine it’s easier to pretend something doesn’t exist if you are entirely unfamiliar with that something.
Here are some things that you should know about me:
1. You have not ruined me.
Absent-father syndrome, is it? It exists, I suppose. But I will not allow it to exist within me. The idea is that fatherless women cling to men, submissive and afraid that they will leave at any given moment. That hasn’t been the case for me. I have had two long-term relationships, both of which I willingly ended. One of the two chose my departure as the perfect opportunity to unleash one last bit of verbal abuse. This guy, like me, grew up without a father. Except, unlike me, his father did not choose to be absent- fate chose him. I will never forget his exact words: “You’re never going to find a guy until you fix your insecurities. You’re a fragile person who works harder on acting confident than actually being confident. It’s pathetic, really.” What is sad is that I have spent so much time wasted on you, on him, and on others who do not recognize my worth. From this moment forward, I will not allow you to negatively affect my future relationships. I will own my own thoughts and feelings. I will forever know my worth.
2. I lack nothing.
Well, at least not when it comes to family. My grandparents are tremendous human beings. My mother is the most beautiful, hilarious, respectable woman and it has been a blessing to be raised by her. You being missing from my life was a twisted blessing, of sorts. Because of your absence, my mother was determined to be a strong presence in my life. Understandably, I mirror her in many ways. There is nobody with whom I’d rather be compared.
3. I am awesome.
If this message blessed you, be a blessing by sharing with others.